Fiction Ed’s Blog: Write For Your Reader

Shutterstock / Roman Samborskyi © write for your reader

I have a meeting with the “Friend” Editor, Angela, every Wednesday morning at half past nine.

We often discuss someone who is at the very heart of “The People’s Friend” – our reader.

When the Fiction Team considers a story or serial, we are not thinking about whether it appeals to us – it’s all about whether it will appeal to the majority of our readers.

Readers are at the heart of the “Friend”

“Friend” readers enjoy a strong storyline and engaging characters. They’re wary of stories that push an agenda – they don’t enjoy being hectored, or reading stories with an obvious axe to grind.

As the “Friend” is often bedtime reading, anything overly contentious, frightening, or controversial wouldn’t be appropriate.

Our best advice for aspiring authors

The best advice we can give aspiring “Friend” authors is to read the magazine regularly (more on that next week), and always keep the reader in mind. Angela told me a story about this, which I’d like to share, here.

Many years ago, there was an Editor of another magazine, who was very much in tune with the readership.

Letter after letter arrived, asking for a pattern for knitted slippers, although these were not in fashion at the time. The Editor quietly kept an eye on the situation, and one day simply said – “If it’s knitted slippers they want, it’s knitted slippers they’ll get”. The pattern for the knitted slippers went in the magazine, and was a huge success. For the readers, and for sales.

Write with your reader in mind

One of the main reasons stories to any publication are rejected is because they are not written for their readers. So it’s always about what the reader wants – not what anyone else thinks they should want.

Research the market, and write for the reader.

Click here for more from Fiction Ed Lucy.

Click here for more writing advice from “The People’s Friend” team.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!